Big 3 Auto OH Nurses

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I have an interview with one of the auto plants for a position in there medical services unit as a occupational health nurse. Would like some feedback on your experiences with working for an automotive plant. How are the shifts?, How is the pay? How did the interview go?
    Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Visit mylojoRN profile page

    About mylojoRN

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 15; Likes: 8


  3. by   shoegalRN
    I currently work for a well known automaker through an agency as an occupational nurse. It is only PRN and thank God, because I wouldn't be able to do it full time.

    I work any shift that is available (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) and to sum it up, I feel like it's school nursing for adults.

    My day consists of sitting in the clinic waiting for someone to come to the window with their "complaint". I get alot of headaches, stomach aches, "I just threw up", etc. I give out Ibuprofen by the hand full.

    Every now and then, there is an "emergency" in the plant, where an in plant "ambulance" will pick me up from the medical department and take me to the "scene". I have a trauma bag I carry, and since I've been there in 2 years, there has only been ONE real emergency, (code blue).

    I work with another nurse and any night/day can consists of doing return to work questionnaires, doing physicals, doing UDS's, doing hair screening for pre-employment, tons and tons of paperwork related to work related injuries, lots of bandaids and applying ice/heat packs. We do have a "trauma bay" where there is an EKG machine (although it's as old as dirt), we can do IV's and ship out when need to. I've done a few IV's since I've been there.

    All in all, you have to deal with the union, deal with the workers trying to get off work, deal with the labor dept, all trying to keep recordable rates down. You will be questioned by labor as well as the union when it comes to your nursing judgment because if an employee is "upset" that you did not let them go home due to their "illness", then they have no problem running to the union. And the next thing you know, the union is in your face questioning your nursing judgment when they have no medical background what so ever.

    All in all, I stick to my guns and it's an ok job to give me a break from the ER.

    Good luck!
  4. by   42pines
    I worked two years at a GM location as clinic supervisor/plant nurse in a facility with a few hundred employee's, though they closed that location and merged it with another so in 2011 it went *poof.*

    The pay was mediocre compared to other places but the clinic was nicely set up and I had a Medical Director (MD) come in for several hours each week to entertain me (or at least that was how it felt). It was a nice mix of Occ Health and safety and I enjoyed it.

    Some of the other RNs at other plants had problems with the Union and some didn't, there seemed to be no middle ground. UAW as well as management can be difficult, but your job is to be impartial and evidence based so call the shots with total fairness and in time both sides will respect you.

    At first I did have issues on both sides but my policies and procedures were well defined and I stuck to them, after a month or so things calmed down.

    I remember when the UAW Committeeman first visited me. He had casually pulled out a gravity knife, perhaps to be intimidating. I reached over and peeled off a postit note and handed it to him whereupon he held it between two fingers and casually sliced it in half. That's what I expected would happen and I admire a person who can keep a knife sharp and we got along (usually) after that. I thought it was a humorous bit of posturing and did not take offense.

    The UAW workers can be funny and often really look at things from a viewpoint of entitlement and sometimes try to pull the wool over your eyes, but then that can happen anywhere. Still OSHA recordable injuries are mega-important (this was not the case at all at my last job at a Pharm factory, but they sure were important at GM) and I learned to document very, very carefully, taking a statement, reading it back, getting the ee to sign it and then after getting statements from other ee's (at times I'd grab the head of safety and literally cordon off witnesses immediately to make sure that I got impartial statements) and on occasion overtly conflicting statements proved that what appeared to be an OSHA recordable was quite something else. But then I've run into this there, at a paper mill, at a gun factory and at a big pharma factory. Accident investigation was and is a favorite activity.

    Yes, the Union (and so too the Management) can be in your face but if you are impartial and stick to material facts then it can be a matter similar of simply dealing with the Union Rep or Committeeman as though it was a family member who was concerned. It's a bit tricky sometimes knowing what to tell and who to tell and how much to tell so a nurse really has to be careful and make sure that you stay both within the boundaries of privacy rules and within the boundaries of your policy and procedures. And it's wise too, to realize that the Union Rep faces a lot of pressure so a bit of bluster should be overlooked, I think. It's a bit of a dance.

    My two years with GM were rather wonderful and I'd take a job with them (if they had a presence in Massachusetts, which they don't, and if they upped the pay scale to be comparable to other industries) in a flash.

    And yes as Shoegal mentioned the UAW members can get upset if you don't agree with them but even the workers will be reasonable after you manage to get through the gauntlet of the first few weeks. One worker was quite upset with me but changed his tune when I commented on how I had seen him dancing in the cafeteria just fifteen minutes prior to his showing up at the clinic with stating that he needed to take breaks from walking and no--there was no allegation of being hurt from his doing the jig in the cafeteria.